Have a better suggestion for HT audio?

I'm building a relatively modest HT system in my family room, so size and WAF are big factors in my choices.  My sonic preferences run toward neutral, but my biggest must have is a center channel that's not much higher than 7" tall and that has the juice to believably produce heft, especially in the lower mids (think being able to credibly and accurately portray Darth Vader's voice).  Also needs to have good dispersion so people around the room largely hear the same quality center sound.  Second priority is tight and impactful bass that will let me feel the rumble of effects in my chest at least to some degree, although room shaking bass is not a requirement, and size is definitely a limiting factor here.  Third priority is a relatively seamless sound across the front 3 speakers.  Room is 23' x 13.5' with 8' ceilings and has open archways to other rooms on two walls.  Budget is roughly $2000 new or used (already have TV).  I'm mostly a 2-channel guy but dabble in HT, so would be interested in your recommendations here.  This is what I'm currently thinking of going with.  I'm fairly certain I'll be happy with this setup from a sonic, size, and WAF standpoint, but if you guys have better suggestions given my priorities I'm all ears.  Thanks in advance. 

Front L/R/C
Aperion Intimus 5C and 4T -- strong bias to center with tweeter mounted above mid or mid woof.  Prefer small and thin floorstanders to monitors due to little ones running around and very limited space. 

Gallo Nucleus -- due to WAF cannot have small rectangular boxes hanging in back corners of the room.  Little white balls might go over better.  Trying to avoid in ceiling but may go that route so options welcome.  Would probably just go with Intimus in ceilings if I do that. 

SVS SB1000 -- a 13" cube is about all I can cram into our spot (hence the sealed box design), but may stretch to SB2000 if added bass foundation would meaningfully up the HT experience. 

Yamaha RXV479 -- this pretty much has all the features, reliability, and sound quality I'm currently looking for, but might stretch to RXV679 if it's significantly more future proof and/or offers some useful features I might be overlooking.  Particularly I'm thinking about it having 3 HDMI 2.2 inputs with the 679 instead of only 1 as in the 479, although not sure if I need more than 1 if I'm not planning on doing Blu Ray. 

Sorry for for the long post but just wanted to give you guys all the pertinent info to work with.  Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations. 

Your surrounds should match the fronts, and the perfect match would be another pair just like the fronts. Since you can’t do that, you should at least use something from the same company, like in ceiling, as you suggested.


Looking at the Aperion speakers, they appear to need more power than the Yamaha will provide. The 5C recommended power is 50-150. Now I know some of the published specs for the Yamaha seem OK, however those list only 2 channels driven, or even 1 channel. Look at this test for an older "4" series Yamaha. It doesn’t have the latest features or digital capabilities, but the amplifier section has the same ratings, and will be basically the same as the 479.


With only 2 channels driven, it does measure at least to the given spec of 80w/ch, however with all 5 channels driven, it only measures 23.6w/ch. This is typical of A/V receivers in this price range, so another brand will not be much different. Unless you plan to step up to a much more powerful receiver, even above the 679, I suggest using a speaker system with higher sensitivity that will be easier to drive. The sound will be much more dynamic, and HT without dynamics is just TV sound. This system should work well with the 479.




As far as juice in the center channel, the 5C would require approximately 10 times more power than the Klipsch to produce the same sound due to the difference in sensitivity.
And yes, if your budget will stretch to the better subwoofer, then do so.

Very good points tls.  I'll need to look into this further.  One question is if all channels not being driven as hard (i.e. rear channels) would that provide more headroom to the front channels?  Also noticed 4Ts are a bit more sensitive than the 5C and min. power requirement drops to 25W I assume because the 4Ts are ported and the 5C is a sealed design.  So I find myself wondering if with the relatively lower loads on the L/R and surrounds if there would then be enough power to then run the 5C adequately.  Not sure there's an easy answer to this, but doesn't seem like an optimal situation regardless.  Might toss this question out to Aperion.

Soix, true that rear channels are not as demanding as front, but I think that is irrelevant here. The output of that 475 dropped significantly when put under a load, so any load, even with just 2 speakers, could cause the same issue.

I am retired now, but worked in the audio industry, with experience in numerous areas, one being the design and supervising the install of HT, and actually using Yamaha and others. I don't think the Yamaha's are any better or worse than others in this price range. No entry level receiver ever did well with floorstanding speakers, not enough amplifier. I can't seem to find something I read earlier, but the 4T was described as a not so dynamic speaker like some other floorstanders, and had dynamics more like a monitor. This would also make me question trying to drive them with the 479, especially using the 5C as the center. Sure, talk to Aperion, however keep in mind they are not going to say anything that would lessen the chances for you to purchase their speakers.

The Aperion speakers seem to get decent reviews, but I don't see the 479 being able to extract the performance from them, like trying to run a Tundra pickup with a 4 cylinder Corolla engine. I'm sure the combination would sound fine on elevator music, but for HT with dynamics it would fall short.

Again, if you want the system to sound like a dynamic HT, you'll need much better power for the Aperion's, or speakers like I have suggested for the 479.

Thanks again tls.  Makes sense.  If the minimum impedance was listed as 6 Ohms I'd still give the Yamaha a fighting chance.  But the fact that they list impedance as 6 Ohms makes me think it dips to 4 or maybe even lower at some point in the frequency range, in which case I have no doubt you're correct.  I really wish speaker manufacturers were required to state minimum impedance and the frequency at which it occurs.  Nominal impedance is just a useless statistic.
Personally, I don't think matching the rears is so important.  For that matter, you might want to skip rears for now.  Once the wife gets used to what she sees/hears then you can add them.  Plus, running wires to the rears can be a nightmare.  The Gallos are nice but they are not a true dipole surround.

I'd opt for a Marantz over Yamaha.  It will drive everything better.  Yamahas don't like lower impedances and it is dead on above about the power outputs dropping.  You have to remember that the peak ratings will get pushed if watching a movie even if your average listening is 1 watt.

You are totally correct about wanting seamless matching across your front three.  This should include matching the heights as much as possible.  Are you going to put the center on the TV stand or wall mount it?

Finally, the SVS is good.  There's a ton of choices out there in subs.  Buy on Audiogon and save.
Thanks Elevick.  Exactly what I was thinking regarding the rears.  Really like the Intimus 5c so I'm going to start looking into AVRs with a more robust power supply.  Center will be on TV stand, and the 4t tweeter and upper mid woof will basically be level with the 5c, which along with small size is why I chose them.  Thanks again. 

"Personally, I don't think matching the rears is so important."

elevick, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Besides the link I provided on matching front and rear, here's another one you should read, especially the last line.


From the experience I mentioned in a previous post, I have heard more HT than most people. No doubt the best sound is achieved with all identical speakers. As sound moves through the room or sound is being created by 2 adjacent speakers (possibly on L or R side using front and rear speakers), the blend is absolutely seamless through the entire room, and speakers disappear. Timbre matching comes close, but still not quite as good as all identical. Mixing brands degrades even more. We use matched speakers for a 2 channel system, so it just makes sense to use matched speakers in a multi channel system.

Started looking at receivers.  The comparably priced Marantz only puts out 50WPC, which probably won't cut it if I go with the Aperion speakers.  However, the Onkyo TX-NR646 looks particularly interesting.  Puts out 80WPC with 5 channels driven, and it offers more HDCP 2.2 HDMI inputs and video processing for not much more money than the RXV479.  Thanks for getting me to explore AVRs further. 
After looking into it further, despite Onkyo offering some nice features and good sound quality I have some serious reservations about the brand. First, the TXNR646 I was looking at doesn’t appear to be able to handle 4Ohm loads, at least in the US, despite seeming to have the power to do so. I’d apparently need to step up to the 747 to handle that kind of load. Their Euro models seem to come with a 4Ohm switch that for some reason isn’t offered here. Very odd and very frustrating. Second, there seem to be a lot of Onkyo customers who have serious problems right out of the box or units that have died after a few years of use. And customer service sounds like it’s absolutely abysmal, although they’re certainly not alone in that. Bad combo though. I tend to keep my equipment for a long time (relatively anyway), so I just can’t get behind a company with all these issues. I also looked at Marantz and would go that route except I’d need to spend 900 bucks to step up to the model that has enough power, which is out of my price range.

So after all this and considering price, performance, features, and reliability, at this point I’m now considering the Yamaha RXV679 despite it possibly being a little underpowered for the speakers I’m considering. It has a little more power than the 479 and adds several nice features for $200 more but is still within my budget max of $600. Since I’ll have a nice sub that I’ll likely crossover at about 80Hz I’m pretty confident it will work fine for my purposes while potentially avoiding some serious pitfalls mentioned earlier.  But if there’s another brand that offers what the 679 has with more power and/or a more robust power supply at a similar price I’m absolutely all ears. Thanks for any thoughts.

Just my 2cents worth, but I've gone down the road the OP has as I got back into audio because my passion with music was rekindled after setting up a decent HT system.

The OP says he is mainly interested in 2-channel audio and only 'dabbles' with HT.  I think his current AVR is holding back what his Aperions are capable of, imho.

I think the OP should consider a different AVR that has the features for outboard add-ons for a future upgrade path; ie preouts.

If the OP is happy with the Yamaha sound, go with something like the Aventage RX-A50 to start.  Then in increments, consider adding an external amp(s) with the remaining budget.

I'd look for a good used amp here as that is low risk and best bang for the buck.  Really good amplification can provide startling improvements in overall SQ.

I ended up building a hybrid HT/2-channel system coupling my AVR for HT/movies with a nice integrated that has HT Bypass for 2-channel that resulted in a significant step up in SQ for music.

[edit/correction] OP should consider the Yamaha Aventage series with say the RX-A850.

Sorry for the confusion Erik.  This is only for a modest secondary system in the family room that will be used primarily for HT and background music.  My primary 2-channel system is in a dedicated listening room.  But thank you for the Aventage suggestion.  I am looking into them now. 

In an ideal situation, yes matching the rears is a very positive thing.  When our budgets allow...
In my experience it hasn't made a huge difference while matching the front 3 is critical.
And to answer your real question:  My theater is matched with Coincidents for all 5 speakers powered by Mac with an Oppo 105.  It sounds terrific.  But, I do pull the rears sometimes to use upstairs and I don't notice a huge difference when I put in something else.